I usually postpone the composure of this blog until I have ample time to write something worth reading. This approach, while ensuring each post has a sizeable chunk of text attached to the image(s), means that there are sometimes substantial gaps between entries. To a certain extent I am OK with this, but when I realised that if I didn't post something tonight then it would almost certainly be another week before I got to it, I decided action must be taken.
So here is a photo with not much text, for your viewing (if not reading) pleasure. It was taken on my second roll in the F4, and it's quite nice, albeit slightly cliched.
Enjoy. (Or don't.) I'll return to my sprawling rants soon enough.
As you will be able to see from these photos, Nightcliff Beach - like many other beaches in Darwin - is the kind of stunning scene that you might find in cringe-worthy Australian tourism campaigns. This particular day was a perfect sunny 32 degrees (as usual) - a day just begging for a refreshing dip in the sparkling blue ocean. The sand was hot underfoot, the intense sun and warm breeze brought delicate beads of sweat to the forehead and the beach was clear for as far as the eye could see - meaning we had it to ourselves. I took this shot of Maydia with the Holga before heading down to the shore to give the F4 a workout and satisfyingly touch toe to water.
And this is where it gets frustratingly complicated. See that vast, clear, oceanic paradise above? It's deserted for a reason. Due to the combined threat of saltwater crocodiles and box jellyfish, the beaches are off-limits to all but ignorant tourists and drunken locals. This is Maydia returning after indulging in a knee-deep wade (and ignoring me squealing at her to get out before she gets eaten and/or stung to death). A picturesque place that simply can't be enjoyed beyond its visual beauty.
Of course the other thing to note here is the grand introduction of my new, non-lomo camera to the fold! A few rolls have passed behind the lens so far, but this particular photo comes from my debut experimentation with 35mm slide film. Though I am happy with the quite stunning colours in this shot, I was initially perplexed by significant grain in the film. I suspect this may be due to the relatively high speed of the film (400) for such a bright outdoor scene.
After getting used to the grainy Darwin images that appeared on this 35mm slide film I have decided I quite like the tarnished effect the grain brings to the photos - I think it suits my overall impressions of the place (but more of that in my forthcoming entry on Darwin's architecture). Although I didn't take the above shot (it is of me), it conveniently reinforces the two main points of this entry: the overwhelming emptiness of the immaculate beach; and the unique technical properties of these 35mm slide photos, with their combination of strong colour and rough resolution.
So how do I feel after introducing a new format to my blog? Pleased to be able to show you all of the things I am exploring in the land of film photography. (And also pleased that blogger has decided to maintain a uniform width for all of the images. A hint, though: click through on the 35mm shots to see the necessary detail. They get really big.)
It's true - Darwin is home to one of only three B-52 bombers outside of the US. The massive aircraft is on display at the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre on Stuart Highway, Darwin, NT. Now, I haven't actually seen the B-52, but I know it is there because the sign out the front of the Heritage Centre told me so. And I read the sign because I was fascinated by the curiously shaped, bizarrely decorated construction, pictured above, that sits right next to the Heritage Centre. Alas, the sign didn't tell me anything about this wonderful anomaly on the otherwise bland stretch of highway, and so I am left with this image and the adjoining museum's sign as the only clues to the purpose of its existence.
The film I was using isn't my regular slide film and apparently it was a bit sneaky in its between-shot movement; as it dangled boisterously from the strap around my neck, the various knocks and bumps urged the film on half a shot so that it ended up crossing over into the adjoining exposure. I don't think the effect is awful, though, and in fact I kind of like it. Adding to its allure is the thematic link between the intertwined images:
This is another strange building on an otherwise barren stretch of road. It's a very small church that looks to be constructed entirely out of concrete or brick, which has then been painted according to a striking white and pale blue colour scheme. Its small windows look like they are stained glass, and from the roadside there even appears to be some kind of doggy-door that no grown person could fit through. Like the B-52 monument (?), this building appears to have been plonked on the side of the road with no obvious connection to anything in its immediate surroundings. Moreover, neither building looks like they could (or do) function in any practical way. My tour guide (aka my sister) was kind enough to take me on a trip especially to capture these two oddities on film, because she understood my immediate fascination with their apparent arbitrariness.
I was thrilled to experience the eccentricity of Darwin during the week I spent there. I can't imagine any other place in the world being quite like it, and I was thoroughly excited to catch a small part of it through my lenses. My various impressions of Darwin will feature over the coming posts, as will my newfound photographic equipment that I agonised over in my previous post. But tonight I thought I would just offer a couple of interesting Holga images depicting slightly surreal constructions in an extremely unique place.